Film Freak, By Christopher Fowler
Christopher Fowler for years practically lived in the old picture palaces of London, from shining art-deco playhouses to damp, smelly, gloomy fleapits. He gazed lovingly at English-made “slasher gorefests”, drab kitchen-sink dramas and lavatorial comedies. Only a lover, besotted with films, could sit through, sometimes all through the night, double bills seemingly “put together by a manager armed with a bottle of gin and a pin”. Fowler immersed himself in the down-at-heel world of English cinema of the 1970s and 1980s, setting up a film-marketing company and hawking scripts around the dingy pubs – full of smoke and decrepit film producers – of Wardour Street, in Soho. Film Freak is a hilarious and exuberant paean to the lost, great days of English cinema and a picaresque account of his encounters with film folk of all stripes. It’s impossible to read it without wanting to dive into a darkened space and watch one of Fowler’s favourite flicks, perhaps Witchfinder General or The Wicker Man, on the flickering silver screen.